There are certain comforts we take for granted in our lives.
“People deserve to be able to sit down and go to the bathroom,
in a safe protected place.” – Angel
(Monday May 15th), three portable restrooms were attempted to be removed from the riverbed in Santa Ana. The porta-potties sat in location for less than 48 hours before a notice of removal was placed by county officials.
Over the last two weeks, our team(OCML) worked closely with OCPAC to raise the money to purchase, deliver, and service three portable restrooms for the homeless community of the riverbed. With donations from many parties, over $1000 was raised to solve this issue, and give this community one less hardship – a place of restroom privacy as well as proper sanitation.
The city as well as the county have both denied requests for restrooms on location for the homeless encampments, leaving community leaders and advocates to move on their own. Residents of the encampment have advised the lack of proper equipment for sanitation is not only dehumanizing, but can ultimately lead to unwanted spread of diseases.
“Absence of basic sanitation facilities can:
- Result in an unhealthy environment contaminated by human waste. Without proper sanitation facilities, waste from infected individuals can contaminate a community’s land and water, increasing the risk of infection for other individuals. Proper waste disposal can slow the infection cycle of many disease-causing agents
- Contribute to the spread of many diseases/conditions that can cause widespread illness and death. Without proper sanitation facilities, people often have no choice but to live in and drink water from an environment contaminated with waste from infected individuals, thereby putting themselves at risk for future infection. Inadequate waste disposal drives the infection cycle of many agents that can be spread through contaminated soil, food, water, and insects such as flies.
One of the complaints that drove animosity to our joint efforts was it’s location; about 30 yards from some playground equipment. OCML Co-founder and Axiom host John Safari stated, “This argument only makes sense if we don’t consider that the playground exists unused, along a lightly trafficked bike path, because this area has become an encampment for the homeless community.”
Lawyer and advocate Mohammad Aly rallied early Monday afternoon after locals saw the notice placed by the county. Apparently, the county wanted $2,000 for permit paperwork to be filed same day, which is double the cost of the portable toilets themselves. Ultimately, a long day of hardship ended up being solved with a few dollies, one lawyer, one little girl, 200 feet and the homeless community working together to keep their right to somewhat safe sanitation and hygiene. The County truck arrived, but could not remove the porta-potties as they now sat on city property.
Moving forward community efforts hope to be approved from county and city officials as it will only help to improve the current homeless quality of life within Orange County.